Today’s test session at the Hungaroring was very promising for the Honda cars.
Honda Castrol Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini was the fastest driver this afternoon, ahead of fellow Honda drivers Mehdi Bennani and Tiago Monteiro.
Gabriele Tarquini (1:50.995), Mehdi Bennani (1:51.064) and Tiago Monteiro (1:51.276) set the three fastest laps in the 30-minute session, while the fourth Civic of local hero Norbert Michelisz was placed in fifth (1:51.433).
“The car wasn’t that great actually,” the Italian driver said. “We started with the set-up from Le Castellet, but that didn’t seem to work too well, so we’ll use a different set-up for tomorrow’s practice sessions. I did two longer stints with used tyres, so all things considered coming out on top is still a good way to start the weekend.”
Tom Chilton clocked the fourth fastest time (1:51.349) at the wheel of his Chevrolet RML Cruze, while the first of the Citroën cars was Jose María López’s, only in seventh position (1:51.453).
Hugo Valente’s Chevrolet (1:51.589) and the other two Citroëns of Yvan Muller (1:51.738) and Sébastien Loeb (1:51.789) filled the positions from seventh to ninth.
The LADA Granta of Rob Huff (1:51.851) rounded off the top-ten.
With ten cars covered by only eighth tenths, this was the closest session since the beginning of the season.
In the TC2T class, Franz Engstler’s BMW 320 TC posted the fastest lap (1:56.792).
John Filippi was sidelined by electrical problems to his SEAT León.
Coronel makes his comeback
After the big accident in this year’s WTCC opening round in Marrakech, Tom Coronel and his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze were back on track in today’s test session.
The Dutchman had been forced to miss the previous race weekend in France while the car was being rebuilt.
“The guys have been working for weeks non-stop, until late last night and all through the morning,” Coronel said. “But we’re here, and that’s what matters. So far this year it has been a race against time; first to get the car ready for the start of the season, then to get it rebuilt for this weekend.
All that was left intact after the accident was my seat and the steering wheel; everything else had to be replaced, repaired or rebuilt. I’ve been racing for 25 years now, but I’ve never before experienced a start of the season like this. In fact, my season really only starts this weekend, because so far I have barely driven the Chevrolet in anger.
I did a 70-lap shake down, some laps in practice and qualifying in Marrakech, then an easy first race to save the car for the second race [where he started from pole position] but which lasted about 500 metres. So from this weekend onwards, I’ll be really racing.”
Taniguchi and Nika start campaign
NIKA Racing and Yukinori Taniguchi start their 2014 FIA WTCC campaign this weekend at the Hungaroring.
The Japanese driver, who won the first WTCC Asia Trophy last year, is at the wheel of the very first Honda Civic WTCC car, that was previously driven by Tiago Monteiro in the last three rounds of the 2012 season and by Takuya Izawa at Suzuka in 2013.
“It’s good to be back in the WTCC,” said the Japanese who last raced in 2013 season’s finale in Macau. “I had my first drive in the car today, doing seven timed laps in testing. The Honda is quite a difficult car compared to what I have driven in the past – BMW, Seat and Chevrolet. The last time I was here in Hungary was three years ago, so I kind of remembered the track. Some corners have been resurfaced, which is quite nice. Right now the car is just fine, all that’s missing is more seat time for me. But I’m gradually building up confidence lap by lap; slowly adapting the car to my liking.”
Compensation weight comes into force
The Compensation Weight system comes into force for the first time this season at the Hungaroring. The system determines the running weight of the cars on the basis of lap time calculation.
The best lap times of the two fastest cars of each model in qualifying and the two best lap times of the two fastest cars of each model in both races are averaged. The calculation is based on a three event rolling average, being applied after the first two events. The compensation weight has been determined by the lap times set in Morocco and France, and the Citroën C-Elysée – that won all the four races – was identified as the reference model. As a consequence it received the maximum compensation weight of 60 kg in addition to the minimum weight of 1100 kg.
The Honda Civic, Chevrolet RML Cruze and LADA Granta cars run with no compensation weight added.
All TC1 cars carried the maximum 60-kilo compensation weight during the first two events of the season at Marrakech and Le Castellet.
The Compensation Weight system is only applied to the TC1 cars, therefore the BMW 320 TC, SEAT León and Honda Civic cars of the TC2T class will run for the whole season on their minimum weight of 1150 kg.